Sign language interpreting services may be necessary to facilitate communication between applicants/consumers of Independent Living Services and the Social Worker for the Blind or the Resource Specialist. Sign language interpreting services may be purchased when it is determined that the SWB and /or the Resource Specialist cannot communicate effectively with the applicant/customer during the application process and/or service delivery.
The DHHS Communication Accessibility Provision (CAP) Policy, dated March 30, 2005, outlines the responsibility of DHHS agencies to assure effective communication with their customers. The link is:
We are able to issue an authorization to purchase interpreting services, which are not subject to an individual’s financial eligibility; however, comparable benefits from other agencies or organizations must be used first when available. Also, for example, if the interview is to be conducted at the local Department of Social Services, the DSS may have a sign language interpreter available upon request. This resource should be utilized when available. When referring the individual to other programs within the agency, information about the need for interpreter services should be shared with other staff members. This will allow staff to adequately plan for services and avoid any excessive delays.
Interpreters utilized by the Division of Services for the Blind must be on the DHHS Interpreter/Transliterator Vendor List (ISVL) which is updated at least quarterly and forwarded to all DSB employees. The Interpreter/Transliterator Vendor List is for internal use only and contains only those interpreters who have agreed to provide services for DHHS agencies under the terms of the contract with DHHS.
Additionally, an interpreter may be located in the DSDHH Statewide Licensed Interpreter Directory:
For a list of Transliteration Skills Certificate for Cued Language Transliteration Vendors:
For a list of Agencies providing Interpreter Services in North Carolina:
Guidelines for Procuring Interpreting/Transliterating Services in North Carolina:
There are several types of interpreting services that could be utilized. The type of interpreting service needed depends on the needs of the applicant/customer. All types listed below can be provided for individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, and hard of hearing. They are:
1. Sign Language Interpreting: The interpreter “visually” relays the spoken word into a signing form accepted by the individual. ASL or American Sign Language, Signed English, or Pidgin signs may be used as appropriate.
2. Oral Interpreting: The interpreter “mouths” the words spoken to enable the individual to lip-read the words of the speaker. Sign language or visual cues are sometimes used to supplement this method of communication.
3. Tactile Interpreting: The interpreter converts spoken word into signs in the hands of the individual.
4. Print-On-Palm: This communication process involves the printing of letters of the alphabet on the palm of the individual’s hand. The individual reads letter by letter and forms words and sentences.
Reimbursement for Interpreter Service Vendors
PAYMENT: The Division of Services for the Blind must use interpreters who are on the DHHS Interpreter/Transliterator Vendor List (ISVL). The SWB and/or Resources Specialist should utilize an interpreter with the highest level certification with priority given to interpreters with national certification or State Classification A.
RATES: The regular hourly rates are based on the status of the interpreter’s class of license. Rates are listed on the DHHS Interpreter/Transliterator Vendor List (ISVL) and will change based on contracts negotiated with DHHS.
Normal reimbursement rates will apply during week-days between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During State recognized holidays, weekends, and for requests with twenty-four (24) hours or less notice, and work after 5:00p.m. and before 7:00 a.m., reimbursement will be at the rate of one and one-half times the normal rate.
Interpreters will be paid for a minimum of two hours per assignment. Mileage expenses are also included in the bill and should be paid at the same rate of reimbursement received by state employees. Transportation will be authorized separately by the SWB for the interpreter as the transportation and actual interpreting will be coded differently in our ESS.
CANCELLATION CLAUSE: In the event that a scheduled appointment must be cancelled, every effort must be made to cancel the interpreter as soon as possible. If the appointment is with a Resource Specialist (Nursing Eye Care Consultant or Orientation and Mobility Instructor) and the customer, the Resource Specialist should first attempt to contact the SWB to cancel the appointment since the SWB is the person authorizing the service. However, if contact cannot be made with the SWB to cancel the appointment, the Resource Specialist should call the interpreter to cancel the appointment and leave a message for the SWB that the appointment has been cancelled. Thus it is the SWB’s responsibility to provide the Resource Specialist the name and phone number of the interpreter as soon as the appointment is scheduled for the Resource Specialist. When appointments are cancelled with less than a 48-hour notification to the contracted interpreter, the Division of Services for the Blind will compensate interpreters for the total number of hours scheduled. The interpreter will not be reimbursed for any mileage for cancelled appointments. In the event of a cancellation due to adverse weather, the Division shall pay half of the time scheduled and no mileage. In the event of a no-show by the Division’s applicant/customer, the interpreter will receive full pay for the assignment as scheduled including mileage reimbursement from home to the site of the assignment.
AUTHORIZING FOR INTERPRETING SERVICES: Each SWB shall authorize for interpreter services when he/she or the Resource Specialist (the Orientation and Mobility Specialist or the Nursing Eye Care Consultant) is serving individuals who are deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing. It must also be necessary that there is no other means of providing the service and it is deemed that these services are essential for the applicant/customer to have a clear understanding of the application and service delivery process. Authorizations for both the hours of interpreting and the mileage reimbursement should be done directly to the interpreter providing the service. The interpreter’s Social Security number may serve as his/her employer identification number.
COMPARABLE BENEFITS: Whenever feasible, the Division of Services for the Blind shall utilize comparable benefits to pay for interpreting services. Because of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a shared burden exists when providing such services. The SWBs shall educate vendors of their responsibility to provide such services. It is now possible for medical providers to be paid by Medicaid for the cost of providing an interpreter when a Medicaid-eligible customer receives medical care. The Division of Services for the Blind will strive to maintain compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act when serving all applicants/customers.
INSTRUCTIONS FOR AUTHORIZING INTERPRETER SERVICES
The Social Worker for the Blind will authorize interpreter services for deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing customers and/or for customers who do not speak English when the SWB and/or one of the Resource Specialist (Nursing Eye Care Consultant or Orientation and Mobility Specialist) need to communicate with the customer to assess needs and/or to provide instruction. No other resource must be available to meet this need when authorization is made with DSB ILS funds since the funds for this service are very limited. A careful review of Appendix C in the Independent Living Services Manual (revised 4-06) is recommended before authorizing interpreter services.
When selecting an interpreter, it is strongly recommended that the SWB follow the recommendation of the customer if the interpreter he/she prefers is on the DHHS Interpreter/Transliterator Vendor List (ISVL). The SWB cannot authorize an interpreter if he/she is not on the DHHS Interpreter/Transliterator Vendor List (ISVL). An interpreter with the highest level of certification (priority given to those with national certification or State Classification A) should be authorized when one is available.
The SWB should call the office of the Chief of ILS and Medical Eye Care at 919-733-9744 before doing the authorization to alert him/her to expect the authorization electronically and also to check on funding availability.
It is not necessary to issue two authorizations to the interpreter when authorizing the service: one for the interpreting service and one for the transportation for the interpreter if it the same vendor. The following instructions should be followed by the SWB when authorizing interpreter services:
1. Main Menu of Electronic Services System Select "2 Authorization/Billing System"
2. Authorization/Billing System Menu Select "1 Authorization"
3. Authorization Menu Select "1 Add"
4. Authorization Invoice Add Screen Worker Number: Enter 7500
Tab to the client Id and type in the client number and vendor number of interpreter. If the vendor does not have a vendor number already assigned, then call DSB Claims Processing at 919-715-9590.
Case service code:
H01 – Interpreter for deaf, deaf-blind, or hard of hearing
H02 - Interpreter for foreign language
I01 - Transportation, non-taxable (individual)
IT1 - Transportation, taxable (company)
Authorized Amount: Write in the amount to be paid based on rates allowed in Appendix C of ILS Manual (Rev. 4-06).
State Rate: Y
Hit PF2: SWB should approve authorization by hitting enter if all information on the screen is correct. This will automatically send the authorization to the office of the chief of ILS and Medical Eye Care. The authorization will be approved electronically and printed by the chief. It will then be sent to the SWB who should sign on the approval line and attach the interpreter’s bill. It should be forwarded by the SWB to the chief for payment of the bill. The address is: Division of Services for the Blind, 2601 Mail Service Center – Fisher Building, Raleigh, NC 27699-2601.
FOREIGN LANGUAGE INTERPRETING SERVICES
If there are no other resources available to provide foreign language interpreting services and it is determined that the SWB and/or Resource Specialist (Nursing Eye Care Consultant and Orientation and Mobility Specialist) cannot communicate effectively with the applicant/customer during the application process and/or service delivery, foreign language interpreting services may be purchased based on availability of funds. All local resources (such as other government agencies and/or other organizations) should be explored before an authorization is issued to purchase this service. An attempt should be made to find an interpreter who is highly skilled to be sure that all participants clearly understand the conversation. The rate of pay will be based on the person’s skill level and the average rate of pay for the service in the county. Normal reimbursement rates will apply during week-days between the hours of 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. During State recognized holidays, weekends, and for requests with twenty-four (24) hours or less notice, and work after 5:00p.m. and before 7:00 a.m., reimbursement will be at the rate of one and one-half times the normal rate. Interpreters will be paid for a minimum of two hours per assignment. Mileage expenses are also identified in the bill and will be paid at the same rate of reimbursement received by state employees. If the SWB cannot locate a foreign language interpreter, he/she may utilize the Carolina Association of Translators and Interpreters (CATI). The telephone number is 919-698-0721. The link is: http://www.catiweb.org/
CANCELLATION CLAUSE: In the event that a scheduled appointment must be cancelled, every effort must be made to cancel the appointment with the interpreter as soon as possible. The SWB will cancel the appointment if notified of the need to cancel by the Resource Specialist. If the Resource Specialist is unable to contact the SWB to cancel the appointment, then the Specialist will cancel the appointment and leave a message for the SWB that this has been done. Thus the Resource Specialist must be provided with the name and phone number of the interpreter as soon as the appointment is scheduled. When appointments are cancelled with less than a 48-hour notification to the contracted interpreter, the Division of Services for the Blind will compensate interpreters for the total number of hours scheduled. The interpreter will not be reimbursed for any mileage for cancelled appointments. In the event of a cancellation due to adverse weather, the Division will pay half of the time scheduled and no mileage. In the event of a no-show by the Division’s applicant/consumer, the interpreter will receive full pay for the assignment as scheduled including mileage reimbursement from home to the site of the appointment.
For questions or clarification on any of the policy contained in these
manuals, please contact the local district office.